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The shifting perceptions of mentoring in mental health nursing: From student nurse to nurse and mentor, an inquiry into the transitional perceptions of mentoring in mental health nursing

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posted on 2023-08-30, 14:00 authored by Julie Teatheredge
A mentor is a qualified mental health practitioner, namely in this instance a nurse who facilitates guides and supervises the learning experience and assesses the student’s competences in practice. This longitudinal study examines the perceptions of mentorship in clinical practice from nurses, as they move from students to recognised professionals with authority to advise and assess students’ competence in practice. This ethically approved study mainly uses qualitative methods. Initially it involved interviewing eight completing mental health nursing students, and 270 mainly qualitative questionnaires were sent to qualified mental health nurse mentors in clinical practice. The final data collection of the study involved interviewing six qualified nurses/mentors who were originally the students in this study. Existential phenomenology was a valuable means of interpreting the perceptions of both the students, qualified nurses and the mentors. This ontological perspective explores the consciousness of the self, operating within a collective consciousness of their world. The data analysis initially followed Van Manen’s holistic approach; then extracting essences, identifying themes and then synthesizing essences. This was then followed by an existential processing of the data from the first and second interviews. The results reveal that the students believe that mentoring is an absolute necessity for their practical training; but the mentoring experience is precarious due to the numerous barriers. The results also highlighted incidences where students who experience ineffective mentoring are inspired to become much more effective at mentoring, because they do not want their students to experience the poor mentoring they had received. The participants in this study said students who are not competent are still passing practice, and the craft of mental health caring is not taught to an appropriate standard. However, learning from the experience of the transitional process was also revealed, and how the development of the self affected the perception of mentoring.



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